Feeds

SHIVER ME TIMBERS, it’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Last one up the Old Seadog gets a lick of the cat

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Review A little bit of colour goes a long way in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. It's a game that takes the series’ parkour-heavy gameplay away from the bleak, ice-covered setting of the American plain, and drops it into the steamy, sunny Caribbean.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Arcade fire

The golden age of pirating, circa 1715, awaits as we join Edward Kenway – even more surly a pirate than Blackbeard, we’re told – in his journey from seadog to assassin. Albeit by way of the shortest montage sequence you’re ever likely to see.

Wisely, Ubisoft has this time opted to throw the player straight into the action, so the game opens with some naval combat and escalates quickly from there. Don’t expect to be waiting for five hours before the main character so much as dons his ubiquitous white hoodie, this time around.

The standard Assassin’s Creed yarn unravels in its own impenetrable way: Templars, assassins, precursor race, blah, blah, blah. Missions also follow the familiar formula. It’s a good thing, then, that the story plays second fiddle to the game’s crystal clear oceans, sandy shores and treasure islands.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Prepare to be bored [Surely "boarded" - Ed]

Indeed, the setting is good enough to have spawned a whole new pirating series, had Ubisoft the pluck cut the rope that docks the game to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s not hard to imagine a rollicking good title where the player takes on plunderers and military alike, before heading off with a treasure map in hand to find Big Whoop.

Kenway is a devil-may-care, in-it-for-himself rogue for the most part. And while the story might try to paint him as a romantic, seduced by the allure of the freedom of the seven seas, there’s no doubting his selfish love of adventure. He’s a kind of Captain Jack Dancer from the the pages of 2000AD’s The Red Seas, minus the shagging, boozing and one-liners, mind. Even so, he’s a far - and refreshing - cry from the moralistic Connor of Assassin’s Creed 3.

Even before he’s even indoctrinated into the ways of the Assassin, Kenway is free to take on side-quests that cast him in that role. It’s a ploy by Ubisoft to open up the game’s content as early as possible, but it’s one that makes the game feel unnecessarily fragmented. It simply rings untrue and, as such, is distracting.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

It says, "Jack Sparrow woz 'ere"

Away from both plot and characters is the familiar blending of stealth kills and bloodletting that the series is famous for. AC’s combat is increasingly taking its cues from Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise. Countering incoming attacks is here likewise the best way to deliver a deadly riposte.

That said, our buccaneer does have a few tricks of his own, not least the ability to carry four pistols with which to subdue groups of enemies in particularly satisfying fashion.

Something about Black Flag’s engine does make combat a tad clunky, however. All too often you’re attacked by off-screen assailants. Attempting to play by stealth can be frustrating because of the ludicrous number of guards that have been posted to protect rooftops.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Prince of whales

At least the Benny Hill moments, which saw hordes of soldiers chasing poor old Connor in Assassin’s Creed 3, for example, have largely been trimmed this time around. You’ll still get chased, but the number of guards in pursuit is more sensible now.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.